Anatoly Karpov
World Chess Champion 1975-1985
01:33

Karpov’s Chess Confession

To embed this video, copy this code:

The Russian grandmaster admits that he found it boring to study chess openings.

Anatoly Karpov

Anatoly Yevgenyevich Karpov was the world chess champion for a decade, from 1975 to 1985.  He won the title when Bobby Fischer, the American grandmaster and reigning world champion, failed to show up at the chessboard.  Born in 1951 in Zlatoust, a Russian industrial city in the Urals, Karpov is widely considered to be one of the greatest players of all time.  He finished first in more than 160 tournaments and occupied the Number 1 spot on the world chess rating list for 90 months, a record surpassed only be the man who dethroned him as world champion, Garry Kasparov. Today, two and half decades after his reign as world champion, Karpov is still an active and strong grandmaster (rated Number 155 in the world, as of June 2010). Karpov is running for president of FIDE, the world chess federation. 
Transcript
Question: What are your weaknesses as a player?

Anatoly Karpov: Weaknesses?  So, I didn’t know so well chess theory, the theory of chess openings.  And so, of course I knew the theory, but not on the level of the best players, so this was my... this was always my weakness.  But this is you know, this is weakness and this is advantage because if I would know Chess theory so well, so probably I would not work out this style to defend difficult positions because from my childhood I could receive difficult positions against even weaker players, but okay nothing happened, so I was continuing to fight.  And so this is weakness, this is positive thing, but still more this is weakness.  It is better to know Chess Theory and not to get in difficult positions from the beginning. 

Question:
Why didn’t you study chess openings?
 

Anatoly Karpov: So, it was boring to study this, so people consider that it is boring to study end games, but for me it was more boring to study openings and then also I didn’t want to play when I know everything till almost 25 or 30. I wanted to create something over the board.

Recorded on May 17, 2010
Interviewed by Paul Hoffman


×